Hungarian chocolate makers win international awards


chocoMe LLC of Budapest, Hungary, and Hungarian artisan chocolate maker Tibor Szántó have earned international recognition at Great Taste Awards 2013. They outstripped thousands of entrants from the world over.

Caramel-tasting chocolate drops on 40% coca milk chocolate base with sea salt, vanilla powder from Tahiti and pecans; 65% cocoa dark chocolate bar made using candied mint leaves, lime-tasting chocolate drops and candied lemon peelings; and a 70% cocoa chocolate bar. What do they have in common? All the three are hand-made chocolate products that have recently earned accolade at the Great Taste Awards, which was organized by the Guild of Fine Food of the United Kingdom.

The above products received a star of recognition each from a very strict, 400-member jury, whose members spent thousands of hours blind-tasting foods and drinks. Those deciding about these awards – which are considered as the Oscars of food assessment – only focus on taste because marketing or packaging do not matter. The jury members taste the products without having information on their other aspects. They include chefs of Michelin-starred restaurants and other experts on gastronomy, procurement directors of noted department stores and restaurant critics.

Appreciation at this contest is important – goes the argument of its organizers – because it guarantees high quality for the customers. Such an award can be displayed on packaging and it is proof of the quality of the taste and not of the marketing effort. Gábor Mészáros, owner of chocoMe [] has told this paper that his salted milk chocolate came close to getting two stars [out of the maximum of three] instead of one. (It was the amount of sea salt that was not found perfect.)

“We are delighted to have won the blind faith of the jury members even though we only started this company three years ago,” says chocolatier Mészáros. He added that some 10 000 products were entered and only 125 of them received three stars. chocoMe entered four products and two of them have received an award.

A product made by the manufacture of chocolatier Tibor Szántó [] – House blend superior 70% cocoa dark chocolate – has also won an award. The same product had won bronze medal earlier this year at the London Academy of Chocolate Awards. His chocolate is made of pure Criollo cocoa beans collected in Venezuela.